This tag is for questions related to mutually intelligible variations within a language.

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6
votes
3answers
278 views

Is there an incorrect use of “infer” in “Absalom, Absalom!”?

I was taken aback to discover the following in William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! on page 157 of my (Vintage International) edition: the magnolia-faced woman a little plumper now, a woman ...
8
votes
3answers
951 views

Why has Southern US English all but abandoned adverb forms?

In Southern US English, adverb forms are almost always replaced by their adjective forms. For example: The journey was awful long. He's running real fast. He ran to the store quick. He ...
16
votes
1answer
295 views

I was raised being called “sister” by my family. What's the background on this usage?

I was called "sister", as a replacement for my name. (Oddly, my brother was not called "brother.") I never questioned this growing up in the 50's in a rural area. It says much about the culture I grew ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

“Salty” in place of expensive?

Someone I know was talking about 600gb hard drives and his description of the cost was "salty". When I asked him to clarify, he told me it meant that they were expensive. I have searched and can't ...
3
votes
3answers
280 views

Is 'doo' a cajun term of endearment?

Paul Simon's zydeco-flavored song That Was Your Mother starts like this: A long time ago, yeah Before you was born dude When I was still single And life was great ... At least ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

How commonly does “done” replace “did”?

How common is it for native English speakers to actively replace the past tense 'did' with the past participle 'done'? I used to think it was only really done in rather vulgar dialects, but I have ...
6
votes
2answers
738 views

Would the “Cavendish drawl” be considered a dialect?

I was reading the biography Georgiana, by Amanda Foreman, and came across a description of what she calls the Cavendish drawl, an accent of sorts that was spoken by the Cavendish family. One blog ...
2
votes
2answers
207 views

Origin and usage of “for choice”

I recently encountered the phrase "for choice" to mean "by preference". At first it didn't look like idiomatic English to me, but a web search turned it up in a few other places. Is this common in ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

What's the difference between the various dialects of English?

I've read and heard "British English", "American English", "Australian English", etc. I know there are differences in accents and word choices but is there a larger difference that makes ...
7
votes
8answers
932 views

Are older senses of “anent” still alive in any dialect?

The obscure preposition anent has a long history, going back as far as Beowulf: him on efn ligeð ealdorgewinna [line 2903] ("beside him lies his great enemy") It has carried many meanings, ...
2
votes
4answers
5k views

Which dialects pronounce “pen” as “pin”?

I recently encounter someone who said pen exactly as I would say pin. I looked in my dictionary only to find these pronunciations: pen — |pen| pin — |pin| No crossover was ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

“Sleep in” versus “Sleep out”

Over the years, I have often debated whether the phrase is "In the morning, I'm going to sleep in." or "In the morning, I'm going to sleep out." My best guess is that it is a regional difference of ...
8
votes
4answers
6k views

Footwear: Runners. Sneakers. Trainers

There's a type of shoe which I, being Irish, would call runners. They're comfortable for running or walking in. The British call them trainers, probably because they can be used for sports or ...
2
votes
5answers
2k views

What's a Denver accent sound like?

I'm trying to learn to imitate the accent of someone from a slummy area of Denver (for a roleplaying game). Info on different local accents is welcome; a sound bite would be especially useful. If you ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Is “who all is” grammatically correct?

I often tend to say something like Who all is coming to the movies? And my friends correct me that I should be saying Who all are coming to the movies? So which one is correct?
7
votes
1answer
443 views

How to compare frequency of word use over time between British and American English?

Google Ngram viewer allows one to compare the frequencies of a set of phrases over time. It even allows you to restrict that comparison to an American corpus, or separately to an English one. What I ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

“That's okay” to mean “no” or “don't bother”?

Growing up, I became accustomed to using the phrase "that's okay" to mean "no" or "don't bother." For example: Waitress: Yous guys want any dessert?Patron [shaking head to mean no]: That's ...
4
votes
6answers
378 views

Can a negative be used to express a positive, such as “mangoes are sweet and so aren't papayas.”

Is it incorrect to use the positive/negative construction when the intent is positive/positive? In other words can these two statements be viewed as equivalent: Mangoes are sweet and so aren't ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Linking sounds?

When one word ends in a consonant sound and the next begins with a vowel sound, can you tell me how you say these words in American English? can I..? (Can nai or Ca nai?) take it (teɪ kit or teɪk ...
2
votes
3answers
405 views

Are “shower gel” and “body soap” regional synonyms?

In Australia where I'm from solid soap has practically been replaced by shower gel except for the older generations. I expected that this type of stuff and its name came from Euro-English but now I'm ...
8
votes
5answers
4k views

“I'm sure” vs. “I'm for sure”: Who uses which, and when?

I hear both (and their negatives: "I'm not sure" and "I'm not for sure"). I want to classify the "for sure" variety as regional Southern, since that's the context I most often hear it. For example, ...
7
votes
12answers
20k views

What's the difference between “good on you” vs. “good for you”, with a sincere meaning something like “you've done a good thing”?

In the northeastern USA I usually hear "good for you," as in You passed the test? Good for you! [congrats] Good for you, for stopping to help! [you are a good person] Online I often see the ...
14
votes
8answers
55k views

What's the difference between a jumper, a pullover, and a sweater?

Following on from a recent question, in Australia we have the word jumper for a knitted long-sleeved garment, typically woollen and long-sleeved. When cosuming foreign media I always assumed the ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

Is there an American English dialect that sounds as “distingushed” as British English?

Obviously there are a lot of subjective words in the question. There are dialects of British English that don't sound distinguished at all (Cockney). Also, what sounds distinguished is somewhat ...
6
votes
6answers
3k views

Etymology of “fixing to”

As a Southerner, I completely understand the meaning of fixing to. It means I'm getting ready to do something. But what I don't understand is where this rather unusual usage of fix comes from. Nothing ...
9
votes
8answers
10k views

“Season” vs. “series”

TV shows, other than ones that have new episodes year-round (e.g. news, soaps), typically group episodes in batches — most often per year, although not necessarily calendar years, and sometimes there ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

“Cleats” vs. “soccer shoes”

I used to say cleats but found it uncommon for some people, though I had no trouble with soccer shoes. I have always lived in a Spanish-speaking country (Nicaragua) so I find it hard to know why that ...
7
votes
4answers
550 views

Are there any indications that English is going to split into different languages in the next hundred years? [closed]

Are there any indications that (global) English is going to split into different languages in the next hundred years?
1
vote
2answers
341 views

ZOMG — I get the OMG part, but Z? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the origin of ZOMG? What ever does ZOMG mean? And where did it come from?
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Is suffixing a personal name with “-azza”/“-azzer” a standard Cockney nicknaming rule?

In two British films I recently recalled, I noticed a trend in nicknaming that I'd like confirmation of, by someone familiar with spoken Cockney English. In the first one, Lock, Stock, and Two ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Identifying accents of British actors

As an American, a large part of my impoverished experience of British accents comes from ancient BBC comedy imports on PBS. I'd very much like to identify the regional accents the following actors are ...
12
votes
2answers
880 views

Guidelines for the use of the slang term “cise”

I heard an unfamiliar regional slang word used thusly: I'm gonna go cise (rhymes with ice) me a sandwich and then I'll be back. When I questioned the user, the speaker insisted it has been ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the meaning and etymology of the adjective “jammy”, of Yorkshire English?

What is the etymology of the adjective jammy? As in, Thou art a jammy bugger! I confess I've never seen the word before. When I looked it up, I found confusing etymologies: one source says it ...
19
votes
5answers
3k views

In what region is “thou”, etc. used in dialect?

My mother often uses words like "thou", "thy", and "thine" in everyday speech. A typical example is: "Thou art a jammy bugger!" She is from the north of England. I'm wondering whether this quirk ...
8
votes
7answers
2k views

Using -ed vs. -ing in the “needs washed” construction

I'm from Central Pennsylvania, and apparently, we have a strange language construct in this area. I was recently talking about how "my car needs washed" to a friend from NJ, and she told me that my ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

“It's no use of doing something”

I have recently encountered a person from Uganda who insisted that the phrase “It’s no use of doing something” is correct, as opposed to “It’s no use _ doing something.” Taking the descriptive ...
5
votes
6answers
3k views

Is misplaced emphasis a form of mispronunciation?

I was speaking with someone today and he brought up the TV show "South Park", and he emphasized the "Park" whereas most people (and the show itself, I believe) emphasize the word "South". This got me ...
12
votes
2answers
812 views

What are the 'distances' among the major English dialects?

Yes, I admit, as an AmE speaker, that all non-North American accents sound the same: BrE, Irish, Scottish, Australian and South African. Or rather, I can tell they are different if placed side by side ...
48
votes
23answers
192k views

“Lunch” vs. “dinner” vs. “supper” — times and meanings?

I've seen cases where a noon-time meal is referred to as dinner, and the evening meal is called supper. There's also lunch around noon followed by dinner in the evening. Is there a particular ...
9
votes
9answers
2k views

Are there idioms specific to one English dialect?

Let's get into a little conversation about the differences between American English, British English and regional dialects. Some words are specific to certain dialects (lass is Scottish, the lads is ...
3
votes
1answer
389 views

Is the word “bespoke” associated with Southern American English, kind of how “bonafied” is in my mind?

Is bespoke associated with the American South, as "bonafied" (bona fide, properly) is to me? When I hear the latter, it brings to mind aristocratic Southern gentlemen sipping mint juleps; when I hear ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Is the use of “all set” exclusive to certain regions?

I grew up in the Northeastern US where the use of the phrase "all set" to mean "ready" or "finished" is common. An example would be, "Are you all set with that?" (perhaps while pointing to an ...
5
votes
3answers
209 views

Geographical distribution of “shall”

In all of the places that I've ever lived (various parts of the western US), the modal verbs shall and will are almost perfectly synonymous, and will is preferred by an enormous margin. Shall is used ...
12
votes
6answers
7k views

“Close the light” — regionalism or mere oddity?

If I want the room in darkness, and wish to announce my intent, I would say I'm going to turn off the light. But occasionally here in America I hear people say I'm going to close the light. ...
6
votes
5answers
333 views

Does quoting in British or American English depend on the quoted or the audience?

If you are quoting/documenting the conversation between two people — one is British and one American — do you use a consistent approach directed towards your intended audience or switch to ...
4
votes
2answers
580 views

Is it true that Cockney English is disappearing? And being replaced with “Jafaican”?

I read a couple of comments to that effect on this Youtube video, which is basically a man ranting in Cockney from the movie Football Factory (2004). The comments bemoan American ignorance about the ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Are any of the t-glottolization, th-fronting, h-dropping, etc. in English a phonological complex?

Wikipedia gives the following, with plenty others ommitted by me, as some of the features of Cockney English: T-glottalisation: Use of the glottal stop as an allophone of /t/ in various ...
9
votes
7answers
2k views

In what dialects does “often” rhyme with “soften”?

I believe in most English dialects soften is pronounced without a t sound. In some dialects, often is similar, but in others a t sound is quite evident in often. I'm interested not only in which ...
8
votes
9answers
23k views

What exactly does it mean to “mug somebody off” in British English?

I tried looking this up at the Urban Dictionary, but it gave only one net-upvoted definition, and that definition wasn't even clear. The background for my question is coming my watching from a movie ...
14
votes
3answers
9k views

Saying “today morning” to mean “this morning”

As an American, I use the term this morning, but I’ve noticed some Asian Indian coworkers who always say today morning to mean what I mean by this morning. Is this an Indian English “dialectism”? Is ...